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Is Your Social Media Recruitment Letting You Down?

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There is no doubt the social media job market is heating up. But when it comes to hiring social media talent I believe we’re doing it wrong in New Zealand. Recruitment companies don’t know what to look for and companies are looking at the wrong people to lead social. It’s just not good enough to create a social media role and get someone internally who thinks they can work it out if your intention is to create real commercial results.

If NZ does not start bucking up and hiring the right people our social media talent will be the next to jump the ditch.

Recently I have spoken to numerous recruitment agents and industry professionals who have validated and agree with my position.

I believe that companies want internal social media expertise. However too much time and money is wasted on allowing inexperienced staff to try to work it out.  For the right brands using an Agency is an effective model but that’s not going to suit everyone.

In order to get social media across the line and through the board room managers are creating positions that require a key traditional competency PLUS ‘some’ social. This might be a Digital Marketing Manager who understands PPC and display advertising and traditional campaign management but only has a basic understanding of Twitter and Facebook or a Communications manager who now has to integrate social without real commercial social media experience.

Many companies are hiring social media staff internally or adding the portfolio to an existing marketing or communications position. While this is fine to get the ball rolling I believe in order for these businesses to excel and gain real benefit from social media they should be hiring a specialist to support the internal resources.

Specialist social media people understand how to create systems and programs to fully leverage the company’s brand, personality and content. They know how to utilize all the platforms, integrate messaging and engagement in a multi-channel environment and develop revenue channels. And you don’t have to hire a specialist full time or on a permanent contract. 6 to 8 weeks and an in-house contractor will learn about your business, develop key strategies, train your staff and champion social media throughout the organisation and key stakeholders, including suppliers and customers.

Until companies realize and act on these insights we’ll continue to see mediocre use of social media and brand pages that fail to meet their full potential. Inevitably that’s a bad result for the social media industry.  Companies that fail to fully adopt social media and use the tools to their full advantage will suffer in the long term as their competitors gain the upper hand in both conversation, engagement and market knowledge.

A social media strategist brings so much more to the table than someone who has been squeezed into the role because they have been on Twitter for a few months and use Facebook personally. Simply reading a few social media blogs does not make you a good social media business strategist, I promise you.

So companies should hire a social media strategist to prepare the policies and programs and train internal resources and stop hiring part time social media users who have to ‘work it out’ through trial and error.

Secondly recruitment companies need to sharpen up. Most social media jobs in NZ are not advertised, perhaps they should be. The market in Australia is about to explode. Look through the job boards and you’ll see hundreds of social media positions.

New Zealand is not far behind. We have good people that do understand social, BUT I believe many of them are great at activation but lacking in high level strategic campaign creation and business integration experience. Eg. they don’t have a lot of general business experience. Well managed those people would be a great resource and benefit to a business.

Reading a CV is NOT the way to identify if a candidate has suitable social media knowledge and experience. You must review their Twitter profile, read their blog, search for published content and review any Facebook brand pages they manage. You have to ask the right questions about case studies, processes and outcomes to discover a real understanding or a fake.

The key questions are: does that person live and breathe social and how long have they been doing it (ie are they doing it just because they believe it will improve their job prospects or is social media a part of who they are), and does that person fit with the culture of the organisation.

Social Media though is very often apart of a wider job description. If you’re going for marcoms, PR or even leadership positions you should be expected to have a reasonable understanding of social media and how a business might get value from it. As recruitment agencies or consultants you need to understand social media and what’s involved with such a position. You need to be able to ask the right questions to ensure you’re not putting forward tire kickers for jobs they are just not cut out for.

Every recruitment agency should be running workshops and up skilling staff to support clients as they create these new positions and in candidate selection.

It’s time NZ businesses of all sizes stopped being so half arsed about social media and start investing in some real IP and strategic planning or they’ll never get the results the business analysts and penny counters are looking for. See the graphic below from Catalyst90, you can’t exactly tell me there is no market opportunity in NZ. This goes for Marketing and Advertising agencies too. Some, but not many have hired specialist social media staff. I think there’s a huge opportunity for an agency to take the bull by the horns and advocate and champion social across their clients, its guaranteed to create new business. Having that specialist market intelligence in house will add considerable value to campaign development, creative work and the overall impact of traditional programs.

Companies like BNZ, ASB, Telecom, Vodafone, Orcon, 2 Degrees Mobile, Air New Zealand, Meridian Energy, MYOB and a few others are leading lights but even some of these companies are still looking for the wrong people.

At the moment there are three key social media roles companies are hiring for: Generally speaking they look like;

  • Digital/Social Media Marketing Managers – Broader strategy and campaign activation, traditional integration, with key focus on PPC, display and traditional advertising. Some social media reporting. Very little analytics or market intelligence. Salary – $80-$120k
  • Social Media specialists – Usually these are ‘activators’ contributing to strategy and executing campaigns, engaging with the audience and providing some basic reporting – Salary $40-$60k
  • Community Managers - Usually involved with forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Providing customer service and audience engagement – Salary $35 – $50k

What I see happening is the creation of two new specialist positions:

  • Social Media Director – Champion of all things social and digital throughout the company. Strategically focused and results driven they use analytics and market intelligence from conversation data to identify opportunities and key influencers. This role could be autonomous where they are strategy to engagement or they might have support from the customer service teams or a part time person engaging and driving conversations. Salary $70 -  $110k
  • Social Media Analyst - Responsible for developing market intelligence and social media monitoring and reporting. This person will also be a social media strategist with front line experience. Valuable for companies and agencies with multiple brands or products in a competitive market place. They feed knowledge and insights to marcoms, PR, sales and marketing and the digital teams for strategic planning and during campaigns to maximize effectiveness and impact. Salary $80-$100k

Businesses appear to be very timid around social media. Whether this is because their marcoms people are telling brand stories that could be challenged by staff falling out the bottom or that they just don’t have quality customer service or business processes in place. Maybe adopting a social strategy will force their whole organisation to think about things from a different perspective. Social media could be just the solution to reinvigorate your culture inside and out and future proof your business for the years ahead.

What ever your reason is for using social media in your business, please start well, lay the foundations and ensure you have the right expertise and people involved in the process.


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